Research Studentship in Flow Through Soft Porous Media

4-year DPhil studentship available from October 2019 (subject to eligibility requirements below)

Research Area

This studentship is part of the major ERC Starting Grant project DEFTPORE: “Deformation Control on Flow and Transport in Soft Porous Media”, being undertaken by the University of Oxford under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.

Fluid flows through soft porous media are ubiquitous in biology, medicine, and the earth sciences, and they play a key role in a variety of industrial and manufacturing processes. The defining feature of soft porous media is that they are highly deformable, enabling a strong two-way coupling between flow and pore structure. This coupling has profound implications for the transport and mixing of solutes and the interaction of multiple fluid phases, all of which are strongly coupled to pore structure. However, flow and transport in these systems are at the frontier of our ability to measure and model.

This ambitious project will combine high-resolution experiments with theoretical modelling across a series of classical flow problems to revolutionize our fundamental physical understanding of, and predictive modelling capabilities for, flow and transport in soft systems.

This studentship will involve experiments and modelling focused on either (1) miscible flows, including solute transport, dispersion, and miscible viscous fingering or (2) two-phase flows, including capillary phenomena, residual trapping, and immiscible viscous fingering.

The DPhil student will become a member of the Poromechanics Lab in the Department of Engineering Science, supervised by Professor Chris MacMinn.

Award Value

The studentship covers a stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) of £22,000 p.a. for the first year, and at least this amount for a further 3 years. The studentship does not cover the payment of University fees (c £4463 p.a. UK/EU students) or college fees (c £3215 p.a.).


The studentship is available to UK or EU nationals only.

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • A first-class or high-upper-second-class honours degree in Engineering, Physics, Geoscience, or Applied Mathematics
  • Experience with fluids-oriented research demonstrated by publication in international conferences or journals, or a first-class final year project report
  • Excellent English written and spoken communication skills

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Experience with experimental fluid mechanics
  • Experience with solid mechanics or more general continuum mechanics
  • Experience with solute transport and mixing (option 1)
  • Experience with two-phase systems, including capillarity and wetting (option 2)

Application Procedure

Interested candidates are strongly advised to contact Professor Chris MacMinn with a copy of their CV before making a formal application. Please note that applications will not be accepted via email. All applications must be submitted in accordance with the instructions below.

Candidates must submit a graduate application form and are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria. Details are available on the Engineering course page of the University website. Further details about making an application are available at Candidates are strongly advised to review the application requirements well in advance of the deadline. Applications should state a start date of October 2019.

Please quote 19ENGCIV_CMM in all correspondence, and in your application.

Application deadline

1 March 2019

Start date

October 2019